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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Interview With Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat; Trapped in Antarctica; Ben Stein Talks About His New Book

Aired September 12, 2003 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome. Glad to have you with us as we wrap up the week here. I'm Paul Zahn.
Tonight: Yasser Arafat, under Israeli threat of removal, rallies his supporters on the West Bank. We'll be talking with a top Palestinian diplomat about what comes next.

Plus: about to freed, Robert Noel, the man convicted of manslaughter after dogs he was caring for mauled and killed a neighbor. We're going to hear from a journalist who has had unique access to him in prison.

Also, planes are on the move right now for a possible rescue of a sick worker at a South Pole research station. We'll have an exclusive interview with the woman who lived that nightmare, Dr. Jerri Nielsen.

And the man in the Plexiglas box: Why do the British seem to hate David Blaine?

Now, some of the headlines you need to know tonight.

Al-Jazeera has aired a videotaped message from one of the 9/11 hijackers. Saeed al-Ghamdi apparently made the tape nine months before the attacks. On it, he says the U.S. will be turned into pieces. A U.S. official describes the tape as propaganda.

In Iraq, a case of friendly fire in Fallujah has left nine Iraqi policemen and a Jordanian soldier dead. The chaos started when U.S. forces shot at Iraqi police in unmarked cars, as the police were chasing gunmen. The incident also drew in Jordanian soldiers, who thought the hospital they were guarding had been attacked.

And the most powerful Atlantic storm in nearly five years is churning westward. Forecasters say Hurricane Isabel's current direction could put it on a path towards the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast, still too early, though, for an accurate prediction.

We turn to our interview with former Palestinian chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on the heels on the news that Israel plans to remove Yasser Arafat. I spoke with him by the telephone shortly after he left Mr. Arafat's compound today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: I know you are just back from Mr. Arafat's compound. What is his expectation? Is he fearful the Israelis will use force to remove him from the compound?

SAEB EREKAT, PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: Well, I think we take this Israeli decision very seriously. I don't think he will accept to be expelled or deported or arrested. I think they'll end up killing him.

ZAHN: So, Mr. Erekat, what you're saying tonight is, you think if the Israelis go in to remove Mr. Arafat, he will end up dead. Does Mr. Arafat fear being killed?

EREKAT: Well, he said tonight, actually that he will not be deported. He will not accept to be deported. He will not accept to be arrested. And I think that's very clear. It means that they will kill him. That is the end result.

ZAHN: How full of fear is Mr. Arafat tonight?

EREKAT: Well, I don't think that he shares the feelings with anyone.

But I think all of us around him, all of us who went there and others who called him tonight from Europe, from all over the world, share very, very deep worry.

ZAHN: What else can you tell us about the situation at the compound?

EREKAT: Well, the compound is still under siege, actually. President Arafat cannot leave the compound. But I think thousands of Palestinians have been making it to the compound today, and many, many journalists, many, many well-wishers. And that's all.

ZAHN: Mr. Erekat, I want to make sure I have got this straight. You say you fear, if the Israelis make an attempt to expel Mr. Arafat from the compound, he will end up dead. But that's not what Mr. Arafat has told you directly, right?

EREKAT: No.

President Arafat said to us that he will not accept to be deported, he will not accept to be arrested. But I'm saying it, that, if they attempt this, President Arafat will end up being killed by them.

ZAHN: Why are you so convinced of that, sir?

EREKAT: Well, because he will not accept to be deported. He will not accept to be arrested.

And I'm sure, if they attempt this, we will defend him. There will be a shoot-out. And the end game will be to kill him. And, in this case, as I said, God may help us and the Israelis.

ZAHN: Mr. Erekat, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

EREKAT: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Meanwhile, CNN has learned, the acting Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, says he spoke by telephone to secretary of state Colin Powell. He told our reporters that Mr. Powell told him he would make sure Israel would not follow through on the threat against Arafat.

Later on this hour, we're going to look more deeply into Israel's attitude with Arafat and whether he indeed is the root of the problem in the Middle East.

James Zogby the Arab-American Institute and the consul-general of Israel in New York, Alon Pinkas, will join us for that debate.

On to more news now. Security concerns delayed today's release of a central figure in the San Francisco dog mauling case. In January 2001, Diane Whipple was attacked in her apartment hallway and killed by dogs kept by her neighbors, Robert Noel and wife, Marjorie Knoller. Noel and Knoller were convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He was due to be paroled today. Since news crews were waiting for Noel to walk out, prison officials put off his release.

Aphrodite Jones has written the definitive book on the case. It is called "Red Zone." She joins us tonight. I'm also joined by CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Welcome to both of you.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Aphrodite, why the delay in the release?

APHRODITE JONES, AUTHOR, "RED ZONE": Well, CVC (ph) officials in California say that Robert Noel is a target, in fact. And he is still considered a ward of the prison system for the time that he is on parole. So he cannot be subject to a sniper or any kind of attack that might occur if his whereabouts are known upon release.

ZAHN: When you say they believe he is a target, a target of what? You just mentioned of a potential sniper. Who are we talking about here?

JONES: Well, we're talking about a public at large in San Francisco who are furious.

When you want to talk about people who are angry about justice not having been served, here are two people who acted so negligently in the keeping of their animals that everybody in that town of San Francisco has to suffer with canine crackdowns. And, frankly, people are so enraged about the fact that Robert Noel was not charged with second-degree murder himself.

When you look at all the backdrop to this story and see that these people were responsible for transporting these vicious, dangerous animals not only into the city of San Francisco, but throughout California for the purpose of illicit activities, helping convicts to guard methamphetamine labs, etcetera, this is something that people in San Francisco don't take lightly. And they would like to see earthly justice, if in fact it cannot be found in the legal system.

ZAHN: Jeffrey, what I'm having trouble understanding is why he would be any safer from this threat two days from now or four days from now. When the threat abate? And do you believe this specific threat really does exist?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't believe California officials are making this up. I'm sure they have some reason to do this.

He is a truly reviled person. There is no doubt that there are people who wish him ill. Whether there's a specific threat, I don't know. Usually, with time, these things do dissipate.

ZAHN: I think one of the more astonishing aspects of this case -- and I know both of you know it because you've covered it pretty closely -- but from your standpoint, Aphrodite, is that neither one of these people has shown any remorse for their crimes. Is that what is the hardest part of this, you think, for the public at large who hates them to take?

JONES: I think that people are just flabbergasted that a next- door neighbor can sit there and allow someone to be literally devoured alive and have not one shred of remorse, in fact, to actually throw the finger at the victim and say that Diane Whipple was responsible for her own murder.

I mean, this is unconscionable. And people in San Francisco and around the world have written e-mail after e-mail and letter after letter asking that these people be served higher sentences.

TOOBIN: This case really reflected a gap in the legal system, because, if you remember, Marjorie Knoller, who was present during the attack, Noel's wife, she was charged with second-degree murder, intentional murder, and convicted.

ZAHN: Right.

TOOBIN: The judge threw it out, saying there was no evidence that she intended that Diane Whipple be killed. That is on appeal.

But all they were convicted of was involuntary manslaughter which carries a maximum penalty of four years. They got the maximum, but that term is essentially up now.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: And how fair is that, Jeffrey?

TOOBIN: Well, the California legislators -- it was fair, in the sense that those were the rules of the game then.

ZAHN: But neither one of them is going to end up serving the full four-year term, right?

TOOBIN: But under California's prison rules, you get out under good behavior. And they both apparently have engaged in good behavior, although Marjorie Knoller has refused to work.

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: That's why she's not out yet.

JONES: She's not out yet.

And also, Mr. Toobin, I agree with you entirely that this is the system. However, if you look at the fact that the jury delivered a second-degree murder conviction and you compare -- knowledge is what they went by. In other words, both Noel and Knoller, these attorneys in San Francisco had ample knowledge that they had lethal weapons, these dogs. And if you compare it to, for instance, a drunk driver who has had numerous DUIs and, all of a sudden, that person goes out driving a car drunk, even though they don't intend to kill somebody, but wind up killing somebody, that can be considered second-degree murder and not manslaughter.

ZAHN: Jeffrey, you get the last word tonight.

TOOBIN: Well, that's precisely the argument that the government made to the judge, what Aphrodite just said. The judge didn't buy it. The judge said it was not intentional murder. That's why Marjorie Knoller is getting out so soon and not doing a murder prison sentence.

ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, Aphrodite Jones, thank you both for dropping by tonight.

And, as we speak, crews are on their way for what could be a very dangerous and very daring rescue mission to Antarctica. Two planes departed Colorado to prepare for the possible evacuation of a seriously ill worker at the South Pole. The illness, we are told, is potential life-threatening. But if he is evacuated, he could receive the proper treatment. However, this time of year, a rescue at the South Pole is a very risky proposition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): Antarctica is the land of extremes, extremely cold, extremely isolated, so cold and dark that, during the Arctic winter, from November to February, no planes comes in and no one gets out, not even if someone gets sick.

In 1999, someone did get deathly ill. Jerri Nielsen, the doctor for the scientists at the pole, discovered a malignant breast tumor. She tried to treat it herself, unbelievably, operating on her own breast. Despite her heroic efforts, Jerri's cancer was extremely aggressive. Her health failed. Everyone realized, the only way to save Jerri was to bring her home.

The National Science Foundation and Air National Guard risked their own lives in a daring historic rescue. Despite temperatures so cold that the jet fuel almost turned into Jell-O and whiteout conditions so bad that navigating was all but impossible, pilots were able to land for three minutes, grab Jerri, and bring her home to safety.

Miraculously, Jerri survived to tell her harrowing story. But can rescue workers do it again?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And if anyone knows what that person stuck in Antarctica right now is going through, it's certainly Dr. Jerri Nielsen. She joins us tonight from Wilmington, North Carolina, for an exclusive interview.

Always good to see you. You're looking healthy. Glad to have you back with us.

DR. JERRI NIELSEN, RESCUED FROM THE SOUTH POLE: Hello, Paula.

ZAHN: So, Doctor, do you think rescuers can do it again?

NIELSEN: Of course. I have a lot of faith in the National Science Foundation, after what they did for me.

ZAHN: But what are they up against?

NIELSEN: The most hostile place imaginable on this Earth.

I was told that it would be easier to get me from outer space than to get me from the South Pole in the winter. And that's what I understand they're up against.

ZAHN: And when you look back at the window of your rescue, literally, as we just explained, it was three minutes. And, as I understand it, you could not even see the plane come in. You were in the middle of a complete whiteout.

NIELSEN: That's correct.

The winds at this time of year are incredible, because the Antarctic continent is warming. And along with that come the horrible winds of spring, with very unstable weather conditions, which makes flying quite dangerous.

ZAHN: It's hard to believe that it was you four years ago that was stuck on the edge of the Earth waiting for help.

Just give us a sense of what you were thinking as you waited and you weren't particularly sure you were going to be saved.

NIELSEN: No.

I thought that I would die. I had a resolve to live my life the few days I had or months I had as well as I could before my death, and was really concerned about the other people. Because it's such a close community, that's your greatest concern. But once there's hope that maybe you'll be rescued, of course, you go between that resolve and hope, which is a very exhilarating thing to think that, when you were sure you would die, that there's a chance that someone will save you.

ZAHN: And I know you have credited this whole team for saving your life. If you could give us a better understanding tonight of what those people who are now on the pole with this very sick man are doing in preparation for a potential rescue, maybe as soon as within the next 48 hours.

NIELSEN: They're working very hard as a team in temperatures that are probably 76 below zero. That's the mean at this time of year. They have to clear a runway. They have to get the machinery up and running, which can't run at these temperatures easily.

But I'm certain that they're working together very closely in a tight-knit, loving community. That's what the place does is, it makes a loving community.

ZAHN: So, while you're very worried about this man's health, you sound like you're very hopeful they can pull it off again.

Always good to see you. Thank you again for sharing part of your story with us tonight, Dr. Nielsen.

Do the Democrats have only one hope in the race for the White House in 2004?

Why is it American David Blaine not getting a warm welcome from the British?

And it's Friday night date night. We'll check in with Ben Stein on how to ruin your love life.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Time to talk politics now.

Former President Bill Clinton will join most of the Democratic candidates for his old job, plus thousands of potential voters, for a steak fry in Iowa tomorrow. It comes just as a new poll indicates President Bush may be more vulnerable politically than at any time since September 11 2001.

"TIME" magazine's Joe Klein joins us from Des Moines. And he'll tell us more about all this.

Good evening, Joe.

JOE KLEIN, "TIME": Hi, Paula. How are you?

ZAHN: I'm fine, thanks.

Let's talk about tomorrow's headliner. It's all about Bill Clinton, a lot of questions. Now, he can't run again. A lot of talk about Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, and they say they're not running. What gives here?

KLEIN: Well, I think that the entire state is trembling with anticipation of Bill Clinton's arrival. Actually, no, they're trembling with anticipation of tomorrow's Iowa-Iowa State football game.

But the Democrats are trembling with anticipation, because he draws a big crowd. He's going to give a great speech. And all the Democratic presidential candidates are going to hate him, because he's going to make them seem tiny by comparison. He's a double-edged sword.

This is the part of the campaign where all these candidates do seem kind of tiny. They're in these debates against each other, eight or nine of them on a stage. And there's always talk at this stage of some heavy hitter coming in and saving the day. The last few days, it's been Al Gore they've been talking about. Hillary Clinton has been talked about. This never happens.

What happens is, we have a couple elections, a couple of primaries, and, all of a sudden, someone wins something and is touted as the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

ZAHN: But those cycle of questions continue. And just the other night, I asked candidate John Kerry if there was any scenario he saw where Al Gore would come into the race.

Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You'd have to ask him that. I'm busy enough taking care of my own campaign. Sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, we attempted to get Mr. Gore himself on the telephone. And, instead, we got his spokeswoman, who repeated to us that he has no plans to run in 2004. Do you believe him?

KLEIN: Oh, yes, I think you have to take him at his word.

You see how snippy John Kerry was about that. These guys are out there working really hard and doing all this difficult scut work. And we're here talking about noncandidates who probably won't happen. One guy who may or may not happen is General Wesley Clark, who could be the flavor of next month. He's supposed to decide this week whether he gets in or not.

In the CNN poll this week, he registered at a whopping 10 percent, which isn't bad for someone who hasn't been running. The leader in this poll is 16, 17 percent. And that poll is an important reminder, after the last couple of months of hearing nonstop Howard Dean talk, right now, this race is wide open. Most people haven't tuned in. And they're going to tune in over the next two or three months.

ZAHN: And we are told that we can expect some kind of announcement from Wesley Clark maybe by the end of next week. And the question I have for you, there were a lot of people in New York that went to meet him last night at an event. And they told me he was quite ambivalent about a potential run, basically saying he's never worked in the private sector and his wife would love for him to work in the private sector.

What is your sense? Is he looking for people to draft him or is he truly ambivalent about a run?

KLEIN: Well, we've been down this road before. Remember Colin Powell's book tour/presidential run. Wes Clark has a book coming out pretty soon as well. And they like to show a little ankle and dance around. And, eventually, they either jump in or don't.

It's a very daunting enterprise to run for president. And one thing is absolutely certain. As much of a hero as you seem before you get in the process, when you get in the process, you're just the 10th guy on the stage with all those other midgets. And it's a very hard thing to break through.

ZAHN: Final question for you, Joe. What will be your favorite food at the steak fry tomorrow? You have covered so many of these. You must get so sick of looking at the food there.

KLEIN: Well, steak is a lot better than rubber chicken. I'll tell you that right now.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: And Joe has dined on it all.

Have a good time this weekend. Thanks, Joe.

We're going to move on now. Afghan interim President Hamid Karzai is backed by the U.S., but it turns out, so are some of his most vocal critics. Coming up, Christiane Amanpour takes us to Afghanistan for a conversation with the Afghan leader.

Also ahead: It's just another stunt by illusionist David Blaine, so why of the Brits so darn angry about it? Richard Quest joins us for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Afghan interim President Hamid Karzai came to power with the promise of international support to turn Afghanistan into a stable democracy. But two years after 9/11, Mr. Karzai finds himself in control of little more than the capital city of Kabul.

As chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports, he's fighting a desperate battle against old foes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Surrounded at all times by special U.S. bodyguards toting automatic rifles, this is the man upon whom rests America's hope for Afghanistan.

He is the country's interim president, Hamid Karzai, moderate and pro-Western, keen to propel Afghanistan out of its vicious past, and yet for two years his pleas for more money and more security to stabilize the country have fallen on deaf ears.

HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT: I was asking a lot initially, in the beginning. International community refused to accept it.

AMANPOUR: Extraordinary for a country that was promised so much, a country that is the first test of the Bush administration's war on terror.

Right now, violence is worse than it's been in two years, since the United States topped the Taliban. Karzai says they're regrouping with support from their old allies in Pakistan.

KARZAI: Those that come and attack and spread leaflets are people trained in camps to spread terror, to make us fail, to make the United States fail, to destroy peace in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: As if that wasn't a big enough threat, Karzai also faces challenges from within. Ishmael Khan, the powerful governor of Herat in the West, showed us that he is master of all he surveys. Where Karzai swarms with bodyguards, Khan makes a great show of receiving the public's adulation. He makes a show of hanging the president's portrait, but he is the foreground. And though he told us he's loyal to Karzai, he took a sideswipe at the central government.

ISHMAEL KHAN, HERAT GOVERNOR (through translator): In Herat, we have a government with a proper system and jobs have been given to competent people.

AMANPOUR: But what Khan really has is money from import revenues he charges for goods coming across the border between Herat and Iran, and he has his own private army, some say 25,000 strong. Warlords like him have also received help from the United States.

(on camera): The United States backs the central government of President Karzai, but the United States is also fighting its war on terror, so it's been supporting and paying regional warlords. It wants their militias to help in the hunt for al Qaeda and remnants of the Taliban. The power of the regional warlords has been growing, and it directly challenges Karzai's authority.

(voice-over): But sick of being undercut by the warlords, Karzai finally got tough. In May, he demanded back taxes and in August he fired several powerful governors, like Gullah Rashir Izai (ph) of Kandahar in the south. He also demanded, and got, Ishmael Khan's resignation as Herat's military commander.

KARZAI: It's been accepted. Just before I came to see you, I met the new commander, the co-commander for Herat. He will be leaving tomorrow.

AMANPOUR: We happened to be with Khan when he got the news. He reacted with a backhanded warning that only he could bring stability to Herat.

KHAN (through translator): I think you see security exists here. And it would be better if it continues, but if central government is not interested in continuing this situation, I'm not interested in staying.

AMANPOUR: Khan's talk has merit. Whether Karzai can replace the warlords power with his own is an open question.

Mounting insecurity is now the biggest threat in the country and with drugs again Afghanistan's biggest export, a criminalized economy.

KARZAI: But we are determined to stand. We are determined like hell to destroy the poppy culture in Afghanistan, because the money that is generated by poppies hand in hand with terrorism.

AMANPOUR: But along with those fighting words, Karzai needs a lot more help from his friends. The U.S. is planning to divert an emergency billion dollars to Afghanistan to speed up formation of a national army and do more to reconstruct the country, to ensure Karzai's political survival in elections next summer. A peaceful, stable Afghanistan may depend on it, if it's not already too late. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Kabul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: There is no doubt about it, the peace process in the Middle East a mess, but is Yasser Arafat the reason? Coming up, James Zogby of the Arab-American Institute and Ambassador Alon Pinkas of Israel join us for the debate. And a little bit later on: Ben and Jen have put off the wedding, but is the romance ruined? If so, humorist Ben Stein has some advice. He'll join us live to explain. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Welcome back. As we told you a little bit earlier tonight, acting Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath says he has been assured by Secretary of State Colin Powell that Israel would not follow through on its threat to remove Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. As you can tell, the feeling tonight in the Middle East much different in tone than it was a decade ago. It was 10 years ago tomorrow that Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin sealed the Oslo peace accord with an historic handshake at the White House. Now, though, the peace process in shambles, with hundreds of Palestinians rallying around their leader, protesting his possible expulsion. You are looking now at a live picture of Arafat's Ramallah compound.

We're joined now by two guests. James Zogby is founder and president of the Arab American Institute, and Ambassador Alon Pinkas is the consul general of Israel in New York. Welcome, gentlemen. Glad to have you both with us this evening.

JAMES ZOGBY, PRES., ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Ambassador Pinkas, a little while ago, we spoke with Saeb Erakat. This is exactly what had to say about what it is Mr. Arafat anticipates. He was with him tonight in his compound. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: He said tonight, actually, that he will not be deported. He will not accept to be deported. He will not accept to be arrested. And I think that's very clear-cut. It means that they will -- they will kill him. There will be -- that's the end result.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: He said there is no doubt in his mind if Israel makes any attempt to remove Yasser Arafat, Mr. Arafat will be killed. Your reaction?

AMB. ALON PINKAS, ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL IN NEW YORK: I doubt that's the case. And you know, I know Saeb Erakat for many years and I respect him tremendously. He just has this inclination to sometimes be hysterical. No one is killing Arafat. Arafat, indeed, is the problem. You know, you showed the footage of the signing of the declaration of the Oslo accord, the declaration of principles. We have not really made any progress in the last 10 years dealing with that man. He is the problem.

We're not going to kill him. There's no point in killing him. We're not in the business of killing foreign leaders. And I think this hysteria is either uncalled for or just invites what he thinks would be pressure on Israel, et cetera, et cetera. It's just nonsense.

ZAHN: Mr. Zogby, how much responsibility do you think Yasser Arafat should bear for the ongoing troubles in the Middle East?

ZOGBY: Well, listen, it's -- we live in a kind of an "Alice in Wonderland" world here, where Ariel Sharon is the man of peace and Arafat becomes the obstacle to peace. We've lionized one and demonized the other, and I simply don't think this picture is accurate. The man has flaws...

ZAHN: But you didn't answer the question. OK, he has...

ZOGBY: The man has flaws. There's no question about it. But remember, they were negotiating up to Taba, right before Ariel Sharon was elected, and they came awful close. It was Barak who pulled his people back. And frankly, I believe that if this administration in Washington had continued to push and if Ariel Sharon had continued the negotiations, we'd probably have a peace settlement by now.

I don't believe that the process fell apart for the reasons that this mythic-historic narrative that Israel constructed is, in fact, right. I think the Palestinians wanted -- Arafat wanted a two-state solution on the West Bank, Gaza with East Jerusalem as a capital. And frankly, the Israelis just weren't willing to give it, and they still aren't willing to give it.

And look at what they're doing now is the best -- the best answer I have. Settlement sizes have doubled. We're building roads and tearing up Palestinian houses and orchards. Palestinians are living in despair. And that before the intifada even began.

ZAHN: All right, let's...

ZOGBY: They really didn't get a fair break.

ZAHN: Let's let the ambassador jump in here for a moment. On the issue of settlements, you understand why Mr. Zogby would read that as Mr. Sharon not being interested in really following this road map?

PINKAS: Oh, that's -- that's absolutely not true. Mr. Zogby, whom I respect -- I really do -- has a very, very selective memory and a very selective understanding of history. I mean...

ZOGBY: You have a strange way...

PINKAS: ... he knows -- he knows...

ZOGBY: ... of showing respect.

PINKAS: Well, this is as best as it gets in your...

ZOGBY: Thanks a lot.

PINKAS: ... case. You're welcome. Listen, he said that he thinks that Arafat this and -- no one knows what Arafat wants. We know do know one thing, that this is a one-man weapon of mass destruction. This is what he has been for the last 10 years. He has brought nothing -- nothing -- but misery and destruction on the Palestinian people. He unleashed terrorism three years ago, not after Taba but after Camp David, in which President -- President Clinton outlined a comprehensive peace plan. Now, as for the settlements...

ZOGBY: You know...

PINKAS: As for the -- let me just answer, Jim, on Paula's question. As for the settlements, that's a legitimate argument and a legitimate claim. That is an issue that was dealt with extensively and comprehensively at Camp David. And anyone who was at Camp David knows that we disagreed on many issues. One issue -- one issue that was agreed upon was the issue of settlements.

ZOGBY: Then why are they being built?

PINKAS: This is not about -- this is not about -- they're not being built...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Let me ask this, Mr. Zogby. I want to move on, Mr. Zogby, to the whole issue of Mr. Arafat's control of the security apparatus.

ZOGBY: Right.

ZAHN: The outgoing foreign minister said he could only control about a third of them, that if Yasser Arafat was serious about clamping down on ongoing terrorism, he would do something about it. Why hasn't he?

ZOGBY: I think that what is happening here, Paula, is that the weakest party, the Palestinians, are being asked to do the toughest job. They're asked to reform. They're asked to crack down. They're asked to perform. And the strongest party, Israel, makes it difficult every step of the way. Mahmoud Abbas was beginning, after that horrific terrorist attack, a crackdown. He didn't get a shot at it. And he said no sooner than I made the decision to do it and told Israel I was going to do it than they assassinated a Hamas leader, inviting the next round.

Both sides, the Hamas extremists on the one side and the Israeli government on the other side, seem hell-bent on this dance until death, and they're leading the region into a cycle of unending violence. But in the middle of all that sits Yasser Arafat, who is the head of a weakened, dismembered and dispossessed people, and he doesn't have the ability to do anything. It's bizarre to blame...

ZAHN: All right, Mr....

ZOGBY: ... him for the practices being carried out by Ariel Sharon and Hamas.

ZAHN: Mr. Ambassador, I can only give you 10 seconds to respond to that.

PINKAS: Well, my only response is that the Palestinians, who we share a land with, who we think we're going to have to coexist on that piece of land...

(CROSSTALK)

PINKAS: They have been -- they have been -- they have been betrayed -- they have been betrayed by their own leadership...

ZAHN: All right...

PINKAS: ... which was inadequate, which is murderous, which turns a suicide bomber into the banner of the Palestinian revolution.

ZOGBY: That's...

ZAHN: Gentlemen, I hate to have to cut you off at this point...

ZOGBY: That's true, but indecent of you to say.

ZAHN: ... but I need to move on. Jim Zogby, thanks for joining us tonight, Ambassador Alon Pinkas. We appreciate both of your perspectives. Still ahead, our exclusive interview with former President Bush, how he is enjoying life after the White House. And it is a test of endurance in more ways than one. David Blaine -- a live shot right there of him suspended in a plexiglas box over the River Thames -- suffers the brunt of English ire. We're going to find out why. We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Only one other American experienced the things that former President George Bush can look back on accomplishing. Only John Adams served as a diplomat, then vice president and president, then lived to see his son make it to the White House. What's left to look forward to? Recently, in my exclusive interview, we talked about the future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

You're coming up on your 80th birthday. You plan to do another jump. Is this OK with Mrs. Bush?

GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I would put her down as mildly enthusiastic. I don't know what it means when she said -- well, I can't really say that, but...

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: No. No. She's OK on it.

ZAHN: And your kids?

BUSH: Well, she said -- I think maybe I told you this. She said, One way or another, this will be your final jump. Well, I mean, I said, Bar, this -- there's got to be a nicer way to phrase it than that. But they're all for it. They're all for it.

ZAHN: What exactly are you going to do?

BUSH: Go up to 13,000 feet with the Golden Knights and go out, freefall, total freefall for about 5,800 feet or 5,500 feet, pull the rip cord, float majestically down to earth and receive the applause of three or four people that'll be waiting for me to land there. It's going to be a piece of cake.

ZAHN: Why do you want to do this?

BUSH: Oh, Paula, it's complicated. Some of it relates to World War II, where I made a lousy parachute jump, but I should have gotten over that by now because I've had two since then. It's a thrill. I want to say to those who happen to know about it that old guys can have fun. You're not too old to live your dreams and do what you want to do. And it's hard to describe, the emotion of falling at 125 miles an hour. It's a thrill, but you don't really realize how fast you're going. So it's a combination of thrills -- falling fast, floating down and then saying to yourself, I can do any darn thing I want to do. ZAHN: What's your encore going to be?

BUSH: After I get out of the hospital, I will...

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: I don't know!

ZAHN: Is there anything left that you want to accomplish?

BUSH: No. Well, yes. You always want to accomplish stuff. Bar and I talked about that. You never feel you've done enough. I've been blessed to be the chairman of the Emby Anderson (ph) Cancer Center, the No. 1 eye cancer center in the country. And though I haven't really done my part in terms of time there, I feel I made a difference. So what do I want to do? I want to make a difference somewhere. Maybe it'll be more with family. Maybe it'll be more supporting a grandkid or doing something that shows how I feel about my own family. And maybe it'll be a broader dimension. But you can't ever stop. What'd Satchel Paige say, Don't look over your shoulder, somebody might be following you? And I'm kind of running out of time here, so there's a lot of stuff to do.

ZAHN: But this is a happy time for you.

BUSH: It's a wonderful time.

ZAHN: In spite of what the country is enduring right now.

BUSH: It's a wonderful time in my life. Ceiling and visibility unlimited. That's the Naval expression -- CAVU. Ceiling and visibility unlimited. And that's the way I feel about my life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: CAVU -- a laudable way to live, whether you're in the military or not.

Coming up, before you head out on that hot date tonight, listen to what Ben Stein has to say about how to ruin your love life. He joins us live. Ben, you can move. You can blink. Oh, good. Thank you! Glad to see you.

And coming up on Monday: It was one of darkest chapters of the Civil Rights era, four little girls murdered in an Alabama church bombing in 1963. We'll be talking with their families four decades later.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Comedian Ben Stein is a very busy man indeed, not so busy he can't offer some advice tonight. he's just put out a book called "How to Ruin Your Love Life." Oh, how cheerful! It draws on his observations and maybe a little of his own experience. He's been married for a total of 32 years, although he did divorce his wife and remarry her, at one point. He joins us now.

We won't hold that against you!

BEN STEIN, COMEDIAN/AUTHOR: No, no. My book is not only aimed at married people, it's mostly aimed at single people, who, despite being good-looking, well-dressed, having good jobs manage resolutely to stay single and lonely. And my book shows how you can continue to do that, continue to wreck your love life and continue to be miserable.

ZAHN: Well, we'll just start off with the first piece of advice because it does a pretty good job of sending us in that direction. "Point out your lover's imperfections in public."

STEIN: Yes.

ZAHN: There you go! Great idea, Ben!

STEIN: And if your lover complains about it, say, Oh, I guess you're kind of insecure, aren't you. And it's also really good to do that while you're drinking because then you can't be reasoned with or talked to. Say things like, God, my husband can't get through the day without talking to his mother five times. What a wimp! And then if you -- and later on, if you say, Gosh, that was kind of mean of you to say that in front of five of our best friends, then say, Well, can't I even express my feelings?

ZAHN: Are these things you have said yourself at some point...

STEIN: I'm not saying, but...

ZAHN: ... in your life?

STEIN: ... but they're pretty close. They cut pretty close to the bone.

ZAHN: The second one is, "If you're dating someone who has a lot of problems, is generally a mess and all of your friends dislike him, get married anyway. Marriage will kill all of your problems."

STEIN: Cure all of your problems!

ZAHN: Oh, cure. Oh. Oh, sorry.

STEIN: Yes. Yes.

ZAHN: I got that wrong.

STEIN: People think that as soon as the minister or priest or rabbi says, I pronounce you man and wife, that all problems are done and the person becomes a model citizen that they're marrying. Not true. If the person was a liar, a cheater and a thief before the marriage, he's going to be a liar, cheater and a thief after the marriage. Stay away. But not many people do. People really think that the marriage vows will change a person's personality. It's not going to happen. ZAHN: I love this dating advice, "Act like a big baby on dates."

STEIN: Yes, talk about yourself on dates, talk about only yourself. Whine and bitch and moan and complain. Get drunk. In fact, it's really good advice to ruin your love life to be drunk or high at all times when you're with your lover. And only, only, only make your lover suffer through evening after evening of complaining about your boss, complaining about your mother, complaining about everything. And don't ever let your lover express his or her feelings at all because their feelings are not important. Only your feelings are important.

ZAHN: Of course!

STEIN: And see, if you do the reverse of these things, you have a very good shot at making your love life work.

ZAHN: Now, I know you are a very busy man.

STEIN: Well, I'm not that busy.

ZAHN: You know. You are. You are.

STEIN: I could stay here for hours...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: Oh, you could?

STEIN: Yes.

ZAHN: Well, thank you very much!

STEIN: I'd be honored.

ZAHN: I'm flattered. But my question to you -- I know you've been kind of worried about J.Lo and Ben Affleck.

STEIN: I'm very, very worried.

ZAHN: Is there any advice in this book that applies to what they are going through now?

STEIN: Well, I think if you're a movie star in Hollywood, you're pretty much hopeless in the love department anyway. You don't -- I don't think movie stars generally -- and there will be some exceptions -- even know what love is. They know self-love and narcissism. There's no...

ZAHN: You're not going to be able to go home, Ben Stein! How can you...

STEIN: I don't -- I don't...

ZAHN: ... call LA home and...

(CROSSTALK)

STEIN: I don't associate with movie stars. I hardly even know any, except when I see them on the set. I think a movie star pretty much is in love with himself or herself entirely and is not going to have much commitment for anyone else.

ZAHN: I don't want people to leave this interview thinking that you're a callow kind of guy.

STEIN: I'm not a callow kind of guy!

ZAHN: Now, the reason you wrote this is you're still trying to figure out why your wife is so madly in love with you after all these years, right? She's done it right.

STEIN: She's done everything right. My wife is a genius at personal relationships, and most of the advice in this book is exact opposite of what she does. She's unselfish. She's giving. She's caring. She's deferential. She is endlessly warm and empathic. And if you were like her, you'd be married a thousand times. She was married at 21. She's never lonely. She's surrounded by friends all the time. She cares about other people and treats other people the way she wants to be treated.

ZAHN: Well, you better...

STEIN: A pretty simple rule.

ZAHN: ... not be stupid with this woman. You almost missed out the first time around.

STEIN: I know! I know! I can't help it.

ZAHN: The pressure's on, Ben. Congratulations on your new book.

STEIN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thanks for spending Friday night with us.

STEIN: A pleasure. A pleasure.

ZAHN: We're going to be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Since last Friday, famed illusionist David Blaine has been suspended from a crane next to London's River Thames. He is trying to stay there 44 days without food, but that hasn't stopped the locals from pelting him with all the eggs and rotten tomatoes they can get their hands on. Why the bad vibes?

We check in with Richard Quest. Top of the morning to you -- your time -- top of the evening here. What is going on there? Why is everybody so mad at David Blaine, Richard?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Paula. It is indeed coming up to 2:00 o'clock on Saturday morning. And there he is, the man himself. Well, actually, he's sleeping at the moment. In fact, that's one of the criticisms that many British people say about this whole stunt. David Blaine's doing a lot of sleeping. He's in that glass (UNINTELLIGIBLE) box. He's going to be there for 44 days without any food, but he does have water and he has means for getting rid of waste.

And what has really surprised the organizers is the fact that the British people have been so underimpressed by it. They pelted him with eggs. They've even driven golf balls at him off Tower Bridge. They've put fireworks against him. You name it, David Blaine has had to face it in the past week. They are not impressed, Paula.

ZAHN: I understand it has something to do with this stiff upper lip. They don't want him to show off about this feat he's trying to accomplish?

QUEST: I mean, that is really the nub of the problem. Basically -- one commentator said to me, He's committed the cardinal British sin. He's taking himself too seriously. He's been pompous about it. He's put himself in there and said, This is in the name of art! Well, frankly, the British people are saying, No, it's not. You're being too showy. We don't like that sort of thing. And anyway, it's not as if he's going over double-decker buses, like Eval Knieval did. This is a man who's put himself in a box and is doing nothing but sleeping.

And when you put it in that context, Paula, while some people abroad might think it's a challenge, an achievement, a dream, the British think, Really, why?

ZAHN: Hard to understand sometimes. Richard Quest, it's really interesting when people so laud him here. Have a good weekend, Richard.

That wraps it up for all of us this evening. Thanks so much for being us tonight. Have a great weekend.

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